BlackBerry devices dumped by another US Govt agency

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BlackBerry devices dumped by another US Govt agency

Shifts to iPhones.

The US National Transportation Safety Board or NTSB is the latest high-profile government agency to drop embattled mobile vendor Research in Motion's BlackBerry devices.

NTSB intends to switch to iPhone 5s and "these Apple devices will replace the NTSB’s existing BlackBerry devices, which have been failing both at inopportune times and at an unacceptable rate" the agency said in its justification document for the procurement.

The agency is tasked with investigating plane accidents and has around 400 employees.

The NTSB said that "minimal additional software will be necessary to support the transition to the iPhone 5." It already uses iPad devices.

Verizon Wireless is the NTSB's supplier of choice for the iPhone 5s. The mobile carrier was the agency's BlackBerry supplier, too.

The NTSB is one of several government agencies in the US and around the world to oust BlackBerries in favour of iPhone and Android-based smartphone devices.

Apple iPhones were selected over BlackBerries by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which has over 25,000 employees, in February this year.

The same month also saw the US General Service Administration with 17,000 employees drop BlackBerries.

In August, the British government opened the door for iOS and Android-based devices to receive the security clearance required for agencies to switch over them.

In October this year, the US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement service said that RIM "can no longer meet the mobile needs of the agency" and switched from BlackBerries to iPhones for over 17,600 employees.

However, six BlackBerry 7 devices received approval from the US Department of Defence in May this year and president Barack Obama is one of a million government BlackBerry users in North America.

The new BlackBerry 10 platform was also certified as meeting the US Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2 in November this year.

In other news, Jefferies & Co analyst Peter Misek told Reuters yesterday that with increased carrier and marketing support the BlackBerry 10 platform now "has a 20 to 30 percent probability of success". 

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